Facebook has been seriously looking at how to engage the younger generation of mobile internet users for quite some time now. As part of this initiative, the social network has now opened up to Android a mobile app that’s basically meant for kids aged 21 and under. It’s called Lifestage and is a standalone app that is already available on iOS devices.
Essentially, the app focuses on video profiles, gamification and other elements that it hopes will make the app go viral among high school students. One of the things that lead to the development of this app is the fact that Facebook is now trying to zero in on SnapChat’s potential audience. The camera-focused nature of SnapChat is something Facebook has been missing out on, and they’re trying to make up for lost time.
As part of the attempt to get more youngsters to use Facebook’s apps, the company earlier bought MSQRD, or Masquerade, which allows users to add effects to selfie videos and share them with their friends. They also launched “Stories” on Instagram to compete with SnapChat, in addition to testing a Messenger Day app and a “Facebook Stories” feature.
These efforts are aimed at the younger generation, which is potentially the highest growth segment for Facebook, especially in more developed markets where penetration is already high.
“Catch them young and get them on Facebook before they go anywhere else” seems to be the new motto of the company, but it also signifies a not-so-subtle focal shift into visual content, especially videos. Facebook wants to be in the video space in a big way, and they figured that if they can get the teens on their side, half the battle is won.
In a sense, they’ve got that strategy right, and by creating standalone apps they can appeal to a much larger collective audience than with just the main Facebook platform alone. Subscriber growth is key to the future of Facebook because everything else – total revenue, average spend per user, number of advertisers signing up to the platform, etc. depends on how quickly they’re able to grow their user base and how well they’re able to engage and monetize that user base.
By opening up Lifestage to Android, it’s likely that Facebook hopes that adoption of the app will get a big boost.
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